The guidance, issued under the Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA), means more paperwork for council officers as it requires local authorities to publish a report on their plans to achieve improved energy efficiency by 31 March 2013, with follow-up progress reports every two years.
Local authorities are told to identify practicable and cost-effective measures likely to result in significant energy reduction in all residential accommodation in their area.
The guidance also asks local authorities to consider the role key local partners, such as social housing providers and community organisations, can play in supporting their plans.
The Green Deal, which allows the cost of new energy efficiency measures to be attached to a building’s electricity meter, will be significant in helping local authorities to achieve their aims.
Energy minister Greg Barker said: “Local authorities have a vital role to play in improving the energy efficiency of residential homes in their areas, and helping us meet our ambitious energy targets.
“This new robust guidance will support and encourage all local authorities to realise the significant benefits of upgrading homes. The Green Deal will be a fantastic tool to help with this, and I look forward to hearing how local authorities are using it to enable people to save energy and money.”